Monday, June 29, 2009

Shocked, shocked!

There are a couple of examples this morning of people surprised by the ignorance and narrow-minded self interest of our politicians. I consider this akin to being surprised by the sun coming up.

From Jim Hamilton:

The Wall Street Journal reports:

Bernanke faced open hostility from lawmakers who barraged him during a Congressional hearing over his handling of the financial crisis and the central bank's role in reshaping the banking system.

These interrogations reveal more about those doing the grilling than they reveal about Bernanke. I see this as pure political theater, and I don't like it.

And then from Paul Krugman:

Indeed, if there was a defining moment in Friday's debate, it was the declaration by Representative Paul Broun of Georgia that climate change is nothing but a "hoax" that has been "perpetrated out of the scientific community." I'd call this a crazy conspiracy theory, but doing so would actually be unfair to crazy conspiracy theorists. After all, to believe that global warming is a hoax you have to believe in a vast cabal consisting of thousands of scientists — a cabal so powerful that it has managed to create false records on everything from global temperatures to Arctic sea ice.

Yet Mr. Broun's declaration was met with applause.

Given this contempt for hard science, I'm almost reluctant to mention the deniers' dishonesty on matters economic. But in addition to rejecting climate science, the opponents of the climate bill made a point of misrepresenting the results of studies of the bill's economic impact, which all suggest that the cost will be relatively low.

Still, is it fair to call climate denial a form of treason? Isn't it politics as usual?

Yes, it is — and that's why it's unforgivable.

Krugman at least admits that this political theater is the norm, but even so, why do these very smart people waste their time trying to jawbone us back into morality? Can we please stop expecting politicians to behave like humans? Can we please start analyzing how the political and economic machine actually works? We have already been post-human for a long time now. There is no going back. Morality worked pretty well when we had to learn how to share meat in a cave. It ain't going to cut it when it comes to carbon permits. Morality doesn't scale.

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